February 11, 2009
It seems as if Nik Antropov's worst fears are about to materialize.
Less than two weeks after admitting that anxiety over possibly being traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs was affecting his play, Antropov's days in Toronto could be nearing an end after general manager Brian Burke suggested yesterday that the Leafs would not offer the forward a contract at the end of the season.
"I haven't talked to his agent [Don Meehan] about a future with our club," Burke said. "From my standpoint, I don't see any reason to put a new contract offer on the table, as I think it might be time for a change of scenery. I'm going to sit down with him in the next week or so, but I don't think Nik's play warrants that type of discussion."
When contacted last night, Meehan claimed he wasn't aware of Burke's stance, even though he met last week with the Leafs GM. "I haven't yet discussed the situation with Nik, so it would be inappropriate to make any comment right now," Meehan said.
Antropov, a 10-year veteran with the Leafs, turns 29 on Feb. 18 and can become an unrestricted free agent this summer. His name has been frequently rumoured among the players Burke is likely to try and purge from the club before next season. After an excellent start to the current campaign — he scored 13 goals in the first 32 games and was easily on pace to better his career-high of 26 markers from last year — the native of Kazakhstan lapsed into a dreadful tailspin.